Road tripping 101
I love road trips. I love the feeling of just being on the road, staring out and watching the landscape change. I love the unknown, not really being able to anticipate exactly when you’re going to be somewhere. The slow lull of the driving. I love the long trips, sitting in a car with friends. Singing out loud. Talking to your heart’s content. I love the adventure of it all.
Some things are essential in making a road trip a success. Here are few of my tips.
1) Your posse is essential. You’re talking about being with these people 24-7 for days on end. This alone can make or break your road trip. Do you really want to be stuck in a car with someone you couldn’t get along with? Those awkward silences? One way to really gauge if you can travel with someone or not is if the both of you can sit next to each other quietly for a few hours. Never saying a word to each other and still feel that you were having a great time. That’s the friend you want to go with. You can always hedge this though, by having a few people come along rather than just the two of you. Helps relieve the stress of continuous conversation and gives you some private time to yourself easily
2) Have some high level plan or aim. You don’t have to book a hotel or anything in advance. But you should have some idea on where you’re going to be and where. I did LA-San Diego-Tucson-Albuquerque-Santa Fe-Flagstaff-Grand Canyon-Las Vegas-LA in about 10 days. And though we made sure we were flexible enough with our trip (like deciding in some places that we didn’t like, we could just up and leave), we had some plans that we needed to be in Las Vegas for example 4 days before we headed home. As for hotels, honestly, I never bothered planning because it depends on how far you get in a day. You can never anticipate things like traffic that might up your travel time. So we usually just drove around until we found a place we were comfortable enough to take a break.
3) Transport is essential. For two of the road trips I did, we actually just rented the car which makes it much easier. Most reputable companies would have made sure the breaks, the fuel lines, the engine, and most things are in tip-top shape. They also provide phone numbers and emergency services. Or, if you actually use your personal car (like my friend and I did for one of our roadtrip), make sure everything has been thoroughly checked out by a mechanic. And always have an emergency number ready. As for driving schedules, it is best to keep rotating. I personally can only drive for about 4 hours non-stop before driving fatigue sets in.
4) Have entertainment…. And snacks…. And drinks. Don’t underestimate this. Whenever I did my road trips, we typically had a box of snacks at the ready. Beef jerky, muesli bars, crackers. Water and energy drinks are also essential as you tend to get tired driving. As for music, hopefully you and your road trip buddy have the same taste in music. Otherwise it can make for awkward moments when here you are belting out at the top of your voice “Chasing Cars” and cue your travel buddy giving you the look of death.
5) Bring emergency gear. Flashlights, basic first aid kit. Aisprin. Bring up to date paper road maps. Trust me, you’re not going to always have your Googlemaps or TomTom on hand. In fact, if you do decide to take the road less taken, there is a huge chance you won’t have 3G reception in those places.
And lastly, be flexible. Stop and enjoy the sights. Laugh, share, and most importantly, drive safe!